March 11, 2011, Smyrna, Tenn., Cessna 310R


At about 1343 Central time, the airplane was destroyed during a collision with flat terrain following an uncontrolled descent after takeoff. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight was the fourth in a series of acceptance flights after a new avionics suite and autopilot system were installed. All the new equipment tested satisfactorily on the ground, but did not yet function as designed in flight.

Preliminary radar data revealed the accident airplane was tracked for about two minutes of flight. The airplane departed on a southerly heading and climbed to 3200 feet msl. There were two targets at 3200 feet, then a target displayed at 2700 feet and then no further targets were displayed. The targets were displayed at six-second intervals, and the last few targets were almost directly over the crash site. Several witnesses described a vertical descent to the ground.


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